For three weeks this month, VPR reporter Steve Zind will report from Afghanistan, where he’ll be embedded with 1,500 members of the Vermont National Guard.Zind will be based at Bagram Airbase in Kabul, and will travel with the guard to rural outposts where Vermonters are stationed, providing a unique and local perspective on the war in Afghanistan. He’ll file stories and interviews from the field, capturing the sounds of the soldiers’ daily lives, and accompany them on patrols and training missions.He will also keep an online journal, where he’ll post photos and share thoughts and observations about his experience. He has also asked listeners to share the questions they would like answered about the mission, or suggestions for stories he should pursue.”VPR’s reports from Afghanistan will deepen our understanding of the role the Vermont National Guard is playing in this war,” said Vice President for News and Programming John Van Hoesen. “For the trusted information we all seek, there is no substitute for reporting from the ground.”Zind has covered the Vermont Guard for several years, including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, returns to Vermont, as well as military funerals. In 2006, Zindtraveled to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, to talk with members of Task Force Saber as they returned from duty in Iraq. He has also been on several reporting trips to Iran,where he first visited in 2004 in search of family history. He returned to Iran as a reporter in 2005, 2006, and 2009.”Steve’s longtime reporting of the National Guard in Vermont and his experience in reporting from Iran over the last several years provide him with the background to provide VPR listeners with depth and perspective on the Vermont soldiers’ mission in Afghanistan,” Van Hoesen said.Source: VPR. 09.01.2010 – Colchester, Vt. –About Vermont Public RadioListener-supported Vermont Public Radio has been serving the people of Vermont and the surrounding region since 1977. As Vermont’s only statewide public radio network, VPR is a trusted and independent source for news, music, conversation and much more. For more information about VPR and VPR Classical, a list of frequencies and streaming audio from all of VPR’s services, visit www.vpr.net(link is external).
The State of Florida’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) contracted with MGT Consulting Group to complete a performance audit of Broward County’s proposed Local Option Transportation Surtax Plan. No material deficiencies discerned The audit revealed no material deficiencies in any of the key aspects tested, and in fact, highlighted the County’s operational and performance achievements.Broward County voters will have a chance to vote on the proposed surtax on November 6, 2018.Purpose of surtax The 30-year surtax is intended to provide a dedicated source of funding for countywide transportation system improvements planned well into 2049, including nearly 476 road projects and over 700 projects requested by municipalities in Broward County. The plan includes greenways, bike lanes and pedestrian amenities, improved routes and overall transit service, proposed light rail on high-ridership corridors, funding for community shuttles and on-demand transportation for persons with disabilities (Paratransit), and school zone safety improvements.The OPPAGA audit, required by state law, examined Broward County’s programs and processes related to the planning, development, operation and maintenance of roads and bridges, bus systems, fixed guideway rapid transit systems and on-demand transportation services. The six key aspects tested and key findings were:Economy, Efficiency and Effectiveness – No opportunity for improvement was identified.Structure or Design – Organizational structures are clearly defined and administrative costs are minimized; staffing levels appear to be reasonable.Methods of Providing Services and Products – the projects tested were executed efficiently.Goals, Objectives and Performance Measures – Transportation and Public Works program goals and objectives are clearly stated, measurable, can be achieved within budget and are consistent with the County’s strategic plan; performance measures are sufficient and internal controls are in place. No opportunities for improvement were identified.Adequacy of Public Documents and Reports – processes are in place to ensure that program performance and cost information is provided to the public.Process for Ensuring Compliance with Policies, Rules and Laws – processes are in place to assess compliance with laws and regulations; contracts, grants and policies. No opportunities for improvement were identified.The audit report suggested that Broward County include additional measures of workload and productivity to further validate staffing levels against the volume of need and improve public access to program performance and cost information for capital projects related to transportation. Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry said the constructive findings in the audit will be incorporated as part of the County’s ongoing commitment to continuous improvement.“The audit’s conclusions offer assurances to the public and taxpayers that Broward County is a responsible steward of public funds,” said Henry.If passed by voters on November 6, the surtax revenue will leverage up to $3 billion from federal, state and other sources, funding which has previously been awarded to other communities due to Broward County’s lack of long-term financing for transportation. It is estimated that approximately 30 percent of revenues would be paid by non-Broward residents and visitors.